There are several developmental milestones your baby will reach in their lives. From simple tasks such as sitting up to lifting their head or rolling over, seeing them achieve these milestones is heartwarming. However, nothing compares to witnessing your baby crawl for the first time.
Considered a precursor to walking, crawling helps your baby develop the right muscles and skills needed to eventually walk. It strengthens their arm and leg muscles and fosters cognitive development while teaching the balance and coordination needed to walk on their own.
You might be anxious to see your little one start crawling and are wondering how you can encourage them to start crawling. Here's more about when they start crawling, the different crawling styles used, and a few crawling toys for babies that might help nudge your little one to crawl.
How Babies Learn To Crawl
On average, babies start showing signs of trying to crawl by the time they are 7-10 months old. They will begin by learning to roll over and proceed to crawl. Infants learn how to roll over from 3 to 5 months, either from their tummy onto their back or vice versa. Once they get the hang of this skill, they are mobile and can begin to crawl.
There are several ways they might crawl; for example, they could belly crawl, get on all fours, use their legs to push themselves, or pull their bodies using their arms. There's no right or wrong way to crawl as long as your baby is moving. My daughter rolled all over the place for months before she began to crawl! From one side of the room to the other, it worked for her to get where she wanted to go.
Does Skipping Crawling Affect Development?
Every child is unique and develops on their own schedule. When it comes to developmental milestones, they can master different skills out of order, seemingly skipping some. If your little one skips a stage such as crawling, it is not something to be concerned about, especially if they are still meeting their other milestones.
No scientific evidence shows that delayed or skipped crawling will affect your child's overall development. However, since it is an indicator of independent motion, a lack of crawling in the absence of another type of independent movement could be a cause for concern. If your little one is not moving by the time they hit their first birthday, talk to your pediatrician.
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How Can I Encourage My Baby To Start Crawling?
Whether your little one is still a newborn or is already rolling over, you are probably anxiously waiting to see them crawl. Here are a few tips for how to use baby crawling toys to help your little one get crawling.
1. Get plenty of tummy time
To develop your baby's core muscles and help them eventually become powerful enough to crawl, you need to give your baby plenty of tummy time. Letting your baby spend time on their tummy also benefits their arm, leg, neck, and back muscles - all of which they will use to crawl.
Tummy time can be done anywhere, on the bed, your chest, thighs, or arms, as long as your child is on their tummy. However, the best place is a large flat surface like the floor. With a play or activity mat, the bold colors and designs will help entertain your little one during tummy time making things a lot easier.
2. Let them play in front of a mirror
This makes a great addition to tummy time as it uses your child's natural curiosity to encourage them to move about. As they investigate their own reflection, they might hold themselves up and even try reaching out, and these movements help strengthen their muscles. Use baby-safe mirrors carefully placed on the floor or near your little one to motivate them to move around.
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3. Use toys to encourage them to crawl
Incentives are great motivators, and you can get your baby to do anything with the right motivation. Placing their toys in front of them just out of reach can be incentive enough to get them moving. An activity ball out of reach can provide just enough incentive to capture their attention and get them moving. Baby crawling toys such as the Fisher Price Rolling Monkey can also work well since they will move around as your baby tries to catch them, spurring them to keep moving.
4. Allow your baby to play freely
Supportive devices such as walkers, highchairs, and strollers are all essential items; however, keeping your child in them for too long can impede their muscular development. Since they offer too much support, your child lacks the opportunity to learn how to support their body weight which might delaying their development.
Limit how much time your baby spends in these devices and allow them to move freely. During playtime, move your baby around in varying positions to work every muscle. Let them play on their left and right side, back and tummy, so their body becomes strong and healthy.
5. Crawl with your baby
Kids learn a lot through imitation, and the best way to get them to crawl is to crawl with them. That's right, get on all fours and show your little one how it's done. You can crawl around during tummy time or while they sit and play close to you; after a while, they will start imitating you. Alternatively, you can join other kids in playgroups and let your child learn from them.
6. Don't stress about it
Lastly, it's important not to pressure your baby to crawl. You have to be patient and let them learn it at their own pace. Making teamwork too hard will stress them and cause them to develop negative associations with tummy time and crawling, which can affect their development. If they are not enjoying it, don't force them. Rather, take frequent breaks and switch things up. Always show them lots of affection and attention as they learn these new skills.
Babies begin to crawl at different ages and will crawl differently, but no matter when or how they do it, it is an amazing time. The tips listed above will help you get your baby moving while keeping them safe and happy. Remember, do not put too much pressure on your child to crawl; it will come naturally; simply provide as much support as you can and leave the rest to them.